Pagan

I Shouldn’t Do Research…or…How To Scare The Pee-pee Outta Myself In One Easy Step…or…What A Long Winded Ramble…

I gotta laugh at myself. I was doing research…well what really happened is this…

There I was, minding my own business when a mutual friend…
*as an aside, when I use the word “friend” it has contextual meaning to me that means quite a bit more than the casual social media form of the word, in other words, I know a bunch of people. I talk to quite a few. I have very few friends. K, got it?*
…mentioned how odd it was that a Water Witch lived in the Desert. I knew who she was talking about but, it had never really occurred to me that that would be an odd thing…

With me so far?

Anyway…there I was minding my own business all skinny and stupid, yes I’m “skinny as all hell:, and I decided to go to some sites and blogs and find out why it would be odd that a Water Witch would love the heat and enjoy the desert. I’m not sure I agree with the reasoning they used. They said she was “supposed” to be a winter person but, that doesn’t make sense to me cause it takes heat to get water to move. Don’t believe me, the heat in the oceans gives rise to hurricanes. Those and the storm surge that comes along for the ride is a bunch of moving water…

Holy smokes, writing is easier after coffee but, don’t wanna wake anyone up…

So…like I keep trying to get to… minding my own business doing research in blogs and stuff, articles and s**t when I got to an article or a blog or a site that wanted to talk about what “rituals” to use…and I ran like a rabbit being chased by a coyote…

Here’s an odd tidbit of thought as another aside…I never asked Aj what rituals she uses. She would answer, she said she would but, I have boundaries. I don’t invade people’s privacy. Her practice is HERS. If she decided that I needed to know, she’d tell me. In the meantime, I won’t ask because I don’t really have any need. A person I used to know would say, “didn’t I tell you? Must not be any of your business”. Sometimes, when I want to ask someone a question as background for writing, I ask permission to ask…

…and back to where I was going…

I understand the principals of the Practice, I get the basic tenets and have a sort of basic grasp of what the elements represent. I know about “energy” and its uses. Those things are like chemistry or physics. You don’t have to “believe” in them or “do” them. They happen. It’s the “doing”, the Practice and Ritual, the “work” for lack of a better term, that makes me quail. I have roughly zero desire to know how that goes…let me clarify, I don’t really have a problem with energy transference, that’s physics. Healing and Empathy have direct correlations, if not actual similarity, to things that are in my faith. Using food as a part is similar to, not the same as, Communion.

Still wandering along with my ramble?

What I don’t want to know but, in the vein of facing what I don’t know that I probably should in order to gain insight into what I write about, are the details, not of any one person’s rituals but, as an overview. Hmmmm…I’m not even sure that makes sense to me…I don’t need to know the tools used. I don’t particularly need to know the spells. I don’t need to know what happens in a coven. I don’t need to know what someone involved with tarot or divination is thinking or even where they make contact. I don’t particularly care what clothes are worn during any of these processes…in point of fact, it is not my business. Why would it be? I’m not a Witch nor will I ever become one…and Rituals, Pagan Rituals, Christian Rituals, rituals in general, scare me. Praying or the Pagan analog is something I’m comfortable with but, I don’t particularly tell people how I pray…

Yes, I am using a Christian phrase to describe a Pagan practice. Don’t beat me up. I am merely using a construct, an imperfect one, that “I” know…

Heaven help me, this is getting wordy and I still haven’t gotten to the point…*laugh, very small laugh, at self*

…so, given everything I’ve written so far, why? In the words of the Bard, “that IS the question”…Ignore for a moment My Favorite Water Witch. Ignore also, My Favorite Hedge Witch”. Ignore also that I say my motives are selfish, and they are because these women are my friends. Why would I go out of my way to find out about some things I don’t understand? Why would I tend to be so protective of them?

Truth be told, I can not “ignore” those things. I am protective and curious because of them. If it were not for the Witches I know, would I be writing this, looking at things that scare me, facing my own cultural and religious bias against them, seeking out other Witches to gain perspective on a  very non-homogenous group, asking questions and trying to understand?

No, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t even bother to be asking if I would. Probably, knowing the way I think, I’d be mocking and deriding. I’d be using words that tend to p**s me off when they’re directed at people I like. I’d be on some stupid page being a jerk. Also, given that The Witches are women, and I am “not a woman”, further that I tend to be a bit of a “Richard” towards things I think I have permission to bully, I’d probably use sexist phrases that offend the crap out of me when they are directed at women that are in my group. I know me, sarcasm is my default. I love being condescending. It’s a “sport” or a hobby to me…They are also the way I deal with things I don’t understand…

…and again, The Witches are a couple of things, no snark intended, that I really don’t understand. I have no true understanding of people that find the Spiritual World to be as tactile as the Physical World. I also do not understand women, again, not being sarcastic or sexist, I just don’t. Kipling explained “why” I don’t far better than I may,
“She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity—must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions—not in these her honour dwells—
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.”

Aside from my selfish motives, and I am not “entirely” able to set those aside, why? What point is there in even trying to understand? I mean, if I NEVER asked another question, if I never even made any further attempt at writing out these posts so that I might see my own words and think through the thoughts The Witches provoke, they would still keep me around…I hope…*tiny joke*…but, I would not be true to myself if I were to abandon the questions and the introspection that facing myself brings up.

I suppose I could ask them, “what would you think if I were to publicly make some smarta$$ comment about a witch being ‘some ugly old hag that can’t get laid’?”…

…Except for a few “tiny” problems… First, I think that would hurt them. I wouldn’t do that for the world. Second, doing that as a test, without warning them that the comment is coming, would be untrue to me because I don’t believe that. Third, I know better than to believe the stereotypes. Witches come in all forms and sizes and ages and sexualities and every other variation that women are. So, that is several lies for the price of one…

…and if I hit them with it un forewarned, my life would be FAR less complicated because, poof, no more Witches, no more looking beyond my own construct, and no more Water Witch… no more Hedge Witch… just asshole Miller wondering why he did that…but…at least I wouldn’t have to be afraid of Ritual and Practice, right?

I don’t particularly “enjoy” fearing Ritual but, I don’t really want to not fear it, either. I DO want to protect The Witches with my words because, if someone that LOVES them is afraid of them then, what about the people that don’t love them and will never attempt to understand them? They know that I will keep trying…for them…and for me…to understand. They also know that my grasp will be imperfect. It’s ok.

*****

I wrote this entire post and added this afterward because it is the Truth I don’t want to face…

This is “what” scares me. To Practice, as I understand it, you must allow yourself to be a “conduit” for energy, be it for healing or divining or whatever. To be an Empath, you must feel what others feel. That flow means that you allow something into yourself and become a medium. My limited grasp thinks that you could possibly allow something inimical to yourself in…and not be able to control it. To be a Healer, you have to directly contact the “unhealthy” and that it could do you harm. Leaving you subject to the whims of something or someone that not only doesn’t care about you but, actively wants to hurt you.

Does that also explain my being “protective” of The Witches? That they would willingly take that risk in order to help someone, to make themselves vulnerable to harm, that sounds distinctly like “no greater love…than to lay down your life for another…” I SHOULD want to protect someone that would do that. I should be “concerned” that people I love do that…and will again and again…and they are my friends. I do not ever want to even contemplate them being harmed, not physically, emotionally, or spiritually harmed. I would rather be hurt myself than see The Witches, or my wife harmed.

If I got this section wrong, I’m sure they will tell me. I’ll give it this, though, if I have the mechanism right, I do not want to stop being scared for them. I know this bit also if I’m right, they will let me know…they’d better because I’d rather know the Truth and be scared than be a “happy idiot” not knowing…

*****

It really is ok that I don’t understand. It’s ok that I remain scared. It’s also ok, better than ok, that they don’t fear me for what I represent. I mean, male Christian, isn’t that the group that made a few, 15 or so, centuries of hell on earth for their faith and a few more centuries of b.s., if you subtract the “Christian”, for their gender?

This is enough introspection for one morning. I’m not doubting myself. I’m not doubting The Witches. We’re there for each other.

It’s what we do. In that case, I think I’ll end with a quote from my favorite, sarcasm, blogger…me…”Hell…f**k it…who really cares? Roll with it and just enjoy the ride, huh?’

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Dear Aj,

Dear Aj,

By my estimation, I’m about 85% unafraid of you and about 15% scared spitless of what I don’t understand. I don’t really stress that last bit of afraid because it just doesn’t matter…

No, Aj, I am REALLY not stressing. We’ve been dealing with this for years, you and I… I may not ever get past those last “ghosts” of my conditioning but, to quote me, “so what?” We have come a very long way since that beginning, right? Since a very afraid and confused me met a Witch. Since I set aside my “Searsucker Fundie” thoughts and wandered into Heresy. Yeah, a very long way since I had to reconcile what I thought about where I KNEW your soul was going and where I am convinced it isn’t, now. You know these things. They’re just here so that we may see them again.

Herein lies the problem, Dear Friend. I worked against centuries of conditioning. I had to fight “The Wizard of Oz” and a raft of Disney. I had to overcome the fears that prompted the Salem Trials. The thing is I wanted to. I really wanted to be what I am, your best friend. I wanted it so badly that I knew that I had ZERO choices in the matter. I was at a spot where being “scared spitless” met “you’ll lose your best friend” and “spitless” lost…

I love you to bits. You don’t scare me. What “concerns” me is that people don’t see that. I have sent you to Hell in a blog post to make the point that I think that is a lie.  As an aside, you do realize how hard that was to write?  I’ve told friends about you in conversations, blogs, “FaceCrack” aka “your daily dose of dopamine” statuses and, every other method I can think of and I’m still worried.

I know that all you want is to be left alone to practice in peace. That’s it. You don’t want to proselytize. You aren’t out to change anyone’s beliefs or moral construct. You haven’t done that to me. We’ve never even talked about it except for tiny bits when I asked, about sending energy and I know you keep a candle lit for my house, just like I pray for your safety. You see, I’m not trying to change you either but, you knew that, too. My worry isn’t “you” but “for you” because people don’t see you, the person, they see “godless heathen Witch” or they see a caricature from movies and comics or they see”my darkest fear of demons and evil”. None of which are the Truth… You aren’t evil or a joke.

So, the question remains, what do we do? How do we teach people to look beyond? How do we give the unwilling a reason to take the harder path and confront themselves and what they think like I did? How do we teach the kids because “most” adults have their prejudices formed? Not everyone is as willing as I am/was to be open. Most of them don’t have an “Aj”. I suspect that most of them would have told you to get away as soon as they suspected that you weren’t like them. I’m not saying that makes me “special” or, in any other way, some kind of a Good Person. In fact, my reasons were, and are, ENTIRELY selfish. Everyone needs a Best Friend and when someone picks you to be theirs, you…or I…accept with gratitude.

I digress…

I don’t think we’ll change the world. I really don’t think anyone cares what a middle-aged Water Witch and a balding Heretic think. Sigh. I do think that we might change one person. We could possibly teach two or three if we’re lucky. We, I, still gotta try. We have to keep showing you to them and hoping for the best. At the End of Things, Truth and Love overcame Fear…and that’s all that counts. That and that if I can overcome my fear and gain my Best Friend, every bit of the work, all of the soul searching, all the dumb questions and neurotic phone calls and texts were worth the effort…

Love,
Miller

Divination Scares the S**t Outta Me

Divination, in all its forms, scares me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. I mean, the idea of it, even this mention will cause nightmares. A few of the people I love are Witches. In point of fact, with one exception, the closest of the handful of people that aren’t related, are Witches. The Witches keep reassuring me that divination is nothing to be feared…and I still fear it. I suspect I always will…

So what?

To The Witches, divination and their spiritual life,  are a part of them as much as the physical parts of themselves. So, if I love The Witches, if they are as dear to me as I say they are, what choices do I have?

Well, I could reject them. Just kick them away from me. You know, “Hey, y’all are just a bunch of trash. If that’s a part of you, y’all are going to Hell anyway, keep away from me. Besides that s**t scares the crap outta me. Damn Sinners…” Yeah…NO. Not an option. First of all, I’m a Heretic and figure that my God is capable of many things that I don’t know or understand. Also, the Bible says it isn’t MY place to Judge the condition of anyone’s soul. Besides, The Witches are my friends and are the Wise Women I go to when I need advice from wise women. Aj prefers the term “crone”.

I could ignore it but, that option doesn’t work because their spiritual life IS a part of who and what they are. It would be like going to an exhibit of paintings and only look at the frames, missing the image you came to see. Seems fairly stupid to me.

That leaves the third option, I could just realize that THEY are not to be feared. That if I don’t run from them or push them away, my choice is to live with the fact that one of MY deepest fears is in error…or at least, try to convince my hind-brain of that even if my “thinking brain” knows they aren’t a  threat.

I KNOW The Witches.

I don’t know their every thought. I don’t their every thought. I don’t want to. I don’t know their rituals and practices. It isn’t my business. I don’t know what god(s) they follow and, again, unless they make it my business, it isn’t my business. What I do know is their character. I know that I can trust them with my fear of some of their Practice and they will, patiently, try…one more time…for the zillionth time…to explain and reassure. I know their love.

You know, it’s “odd” to be me. A Witch taught me some of the life lessons I needed to learn. The first woman that wasn’t a blood relative or a dog that I told I loved I married. That is my Lady Wife.

The second woman I ever said that to is a Witch. SHE, Aj, taught me that it is possible to love someone that you are not obligated to. To love a friend. She taught me that I don’t have to understand to be able to accept. She taught me that “different” is not the same as “threat”. She taught me that her beliefs and mine are not the same but, they can exist in harmony. She helped to teach me, read kick my a$$ in the right direction, that “I” am worth trusting, even if I didn’t believe it about myself. She gives me advice on difficult subjects like “how does my wife think?” She taught that sometimes you have to risk a great loss to have a great gain but, that’s a different story for a different time.

It seems kind of mercenary to me to not just kick The Witches out. I mean, I gain from them and they have to deal with my b.s. I mean, I see what MY upside is. I get to be around people I love and like and admire. What’s in it for them? I’m no great shakes. Just some random Heretic from a faith that pushed them underground and persecuted them for the better part of 2,000 years…I really don’t get it…That loss that is in the paragraph above, Aj told an, at that time, Evangelical Christian, now Heretic. that she was a Witch. She had decided she had found someone that could be her Best Friend…while I was realizing it…and KNEW that she had to tell me the Truth about herself, to remove any assumptions I may have, rather than to let me live with Illusion…and if I just decided that I should kick her aside, that would hurt but, not as much as the Lie would.

The Witches are NOT a threat. The first Witch I ever knew taught me that. The others I know reinforce that. Our beliefs are NOT the same but, the way we live our lives are.

You don’t have to agree with my faith…or theirs but, before you so readily dismiss someone as worthless, consider who they are. Don’t look at the frame and miss the artwork within…If all I see is what I fear, I lose The Witches. THAT loss is a price I am unwilling to pay.

Granola or Neo-Pagan?

Well…Happy Easter…

I haven’t written in a long time but, like it used to do when I wrote frequently, something has to get under my skin for me to write…

One of my closest friends was called “granola”. That is a term I had to look up. In context, it means, “to not really care but to be in it because it’s fashionable”. It pissed me off because they were calling a friend “false”.

I really don’t like a different phrase, too. The phrase “Neo-Pagan” bothers me. I know too many Witches. Neo-Pagan is a phrase used by mainstream society to imply a current construct. That overlooks one tiny point…

WE taught the Witches and Pagans that WE would persecute, harass, and disparage them at every opportunity. We forced them underground. Then, when they had the temerity to assume that times had changed, we made up a term that makes light of their traditions.

Huh? We did what? We treated them like they were trash and then when they finally got the nerve to begin to be more open with their faith WE called them “granola”.

*sigh*

Pardon my language but, that seems kind of chickens**t and decidedly un-Christian. We can acknowledge the right of every other set of beliefs in the World to exist and not even take seriously the oldest set? Christians claim persecution. In this country, OUR faith, Christianity, is the majority faith but, it is not the ONLY faith or set of beliefs.

Look, *calms fingers* there is room for more than just Christianity here. I’m not really here to debate the merits of which is “more valid”. For me, Christianity fits. For the very closest of my friends, they are Pagan. So what?

Here’s what one of them says about her beliefs, “it’s not hocus-pocus … it’s about mindfulness and living with the harmony vs … ego bs and taking…we don’t take. we don’t need to. there is none of that …that’s forcing your will upon another … and whatever you put out comes back 3 fold … so … how do you think that will turn out. Do no Harm is my professional code and it suits me in my personal and spiritual practice.”

That sounds quite a bit like “do to others what you want done to you” with a dash of “love your neighbor” implied in there, too…

Anyway, I started writing this because, if we want out faith treated with respect, perhaps we shouldn’t make light of a set of far older traditions. We should “do to others” the respect we want. We pushed them under the covers. We taught them that “the only time a submarine gets in trouble is when it comes up for air” a few centuries ago and now that they have decided to come up into the Sun, we told them “well…since you went away…now that you’ve come back, you aren’t what you were…or have been while you were hiding from us.”

There IS room. We can each learn from each other. There are tenets of Christianity that directly correspond to Pagan tenets. Some don’t but, again, so what? The World is full of individuals and we ALL look at it through our own eyes. Just don’t assume that everyone is “granola” because YOU think that they’re false…unless that’s what you want to be treated like in return.

Have a happy Easter. Have a blessed Eostre.

There Was A Truck Across The Road

Yesterday morning, while I was having my coffee and smoke before work, I heard a boom. I didn’t think anything of it…till the sirens. The highway that I take to work is behind my house and the entrance that I use is about 1/4 mile away. It’s just a crossover that lets you go across 2 lanes of traffic to get to the northbound side…and someone coming south didn’t see the semi crossing his lanes. He hit the truck. He died. I KNOW that road. I know how fast traffic is. I suspect that it was quick. I hope he was gone before the flames got to him…
I don’t know who it was. It was just someone that was either coming home or going to work. No one expects that at 5:30 on a nice Fall morning that they won’t make it home from work. No family expects it…

I was going to write some cutsie pie post about a Blanket Fort…at least that was what I had been thinking about during the week. Yesterday morning changed that. I’m not going to use some person I don’t know as a tool to beat down people, please don’t read that into this.

Tell your person that you love them. Tell your people that you love them. If you’re in a fight and leave the house before you leave say “I love you”. Say the words.
Let the people that you surround yourself know what you like about them. Tell your wife she’s beautiful or your husband he’s attractive. If you don’t have either or a person, find someone and let them know.

Quit being so spiteful and fearful. Look for common ground and quit embracing xenophobic hate. Don’t consign people to Hell. When you take that stuff in, is that what you want in your heart when there’s a truck across the highway?

Let people in, don’t push them away.

*****

I like online conversations. It lets me see what I’ve missed. I’m sort of a functioning agoraphobic. I don’t ever want to leave home. As a result, most of my meaningful communication is online. The other day, I introduced someone I have been talking to for a couple (?) of years to Aj and Z. I am incredibly selective when I do that. I need to be sure that they fit. It was an emergency. My wife is feeling poorly. Just a bad cold…I think…but, I get stressed when she is because she’s my wife…anyway…
I introduced her to Aj and Z.

*When I NEED “prayer”, yeah not really Pagan but, still communication with the spiritual and not the profane, so, it’ll do, I go to Aj and Z. It covers the bases, Christian and Pagan.*

I was worried, yeah, that she wouldn’t fit, not because of her but, just because…well…Aj and Z and I respect them. My point, after I dropped offline for the night, the next day, I read back what was said.

As it turns out, much to my not surprise, she and Aj act just like old friends. They have a deep and abiding love of their Craft. They see beyond what I see. They both NEED to be grounded. Z, well, to tell Z she couldn’t get outside would be the end of her. I am glad I did and wonder why I waited. I should have known that.

What’s the point of this bit? Their worlds got a bit bigger. Mine did, too.

*****

I decided to write this to say when the end comes, the world ends, even if only for one person. I don’t know if I say it enough to them so…

You’re important to me. You, who you are, means more to me than mere typed words can express. I think about y’all all the time…and no this doesn’t mean that I think that what “I” think matters as much as that you have my, for what it’s worth, gratitude for letting me into YOUR worlds. That YOU matter. That you guys have embraced me being different and let me into your lives. If I don’t say it enough, I’ll give it one more shot. The compassion, patience, and understanding you’ve shown to my grumpy, middle-aged, hidebound, fearful, egotistical, worry-wort self, is beyond my understanding… Thank you all for letting me in to your worlds. I love you all dearly for it.

Life is vanishingly brief. It can end on a workday morning because you didn’t see the truck across the road.

 

A Curmudgeonly Protective Rant

I’ve decided to be more close-minded. I’m going to slam it shut. I am not going to tolerate other views or perspectives. Willingly and with forethought jump off the deep end into my own view being the only correct one…

You might, at this point, be thinking, “Miller, you claim to be a Heretic. You ‘say’ that your best friends are “other” when it comes to who your demographic is. What gives? Have you just become some kind of a hypocrite?”

Well…no. My view is that my “other” friends are MY friends. What is good for them is good and what harms them is bad. Period. I can not physically protect them. They live too far away. I’m fairly sure that, between them, they have enough shovels to bury the bodies on their own anyway.

In fact, I don’t think they “need” me for any d**n thing. They’ve put up with enough bulls**t in their lives and come out stronger. They’ve walked their paths since long before I was around and they’re still on their feet. They made it past exes and a$$holes and abuse that would make my knees buckle. They’re a bunch of tough broads and I admire the hell out of them for it.

My friends, the “usual suspects” and another that seems to have crawled in over the past couple of years are better than me…and for damn sure you…*see, close-minded as hell*…In spite of that, they put up with me.

What I CAN do is to be on their side…meaning MINE. I can channel my inner curmudgeon and say “f**k you” to the world for them.

If this seems a “tad belligerent”, it is.

It is me protecting by wrapping my figurative arms around them and letting them have space, not a silly “safe space” but, just space where they don’t have to be anything other than who they are. Where some a$$hole guy doesn’t want them for what he can get from them…I lied, I do want to “get” something. It’s just that it isn’t sex, money, power, or personal validation. I don’t need any of those. I get to have people to care about. I get to let them have a bit of me…and I have a bit of them.

So, yeah, closed tight. Wrapped around a group of people that I wouldn’t have sought out. They’re far too different from “old me” for me to have gone looking but, since they’re here, I wouldn’t trade them for any number of you.

Like ’em. Love ’em. Hate ’em. I don’t care what you think. I’m not their “only” friend but, I am one that says “p**s on my demographic I love them just the way they are”

Underdogs

I’ve always been for the underdog. I tend to draw my own conclusions about people and the way I get to them isn’t always a mental path that most people would take.

Why does this have context here? Well…I seem to have an odd preference in my friends. You would think that, as a Christian, I would seek out my coreligionists. That my own demographic would be the group I wanted to be included in and with, yet, that seems not to be the case.

It seems that with Christians, no not all I am NOT painting with a broad brush, some Christians, though, there is competition to be the “best” Christian. That if your dogma is different than my dogma we are opponents. If we have different translations of the Bible, one of us is wrong. That who you allow to preach, meaning gender, is a cause for divide. That if I say that someone is LBGT may not be condemned to Hell makes me a Heretic…yeah, it does, by the way. That if I say that Pagans aren’t going to Hell, that doubles my heresy…again, yeah, it does double it…

The other demographic I tend to prefer is female. When I am around males, I compete. I think it’s a part of my nature. Males NEED to compete with other males. We beat our chests and strut like roosters. We have an image we need to project. I freely admit that, around guys, I do that. Yeah, it sux. It isn’t a “boys will be boys” thing meaning, women as objects or the rest of that stupidity, just having an image to project and protect. It is a bunch of damn work. It’s mentally stressing.

So…now that there’s some groundwork laid…Why Pagans and women and women pagans?

Let’s take this out of order and start with women… It’s just easier. I can be myself. I don’t really want anything from them. I don’t want a date because I’m well and devotedly married to the Love of My Life. I will be for the rest of my life…I digress…I just also don’t need to compete with them. I know their thought processes are different. It stands to reason, there are some serious biological reasons, duh. *editorial, I am not saying anything other than *different* NOT “worse”* If I natter on about “My Sweety this..” or “My Sweety that, blah blah blah…” they don’t get tired of hearing it…and I DO rattle on about it. Did I mention that I LOVE being married?

Now another part of the thought, of all the groups in the world a Christian would find, Pagans? Well…it seems that’s an accident. It really is. I didn’t look for Pagans. Hell, the first time I talked to a Pagan, I assumed she was a Christian. I really did. I thought Pagans, Witches, were a joke caused by Halloween and mass hysteria. How was I to know? Then something happened, I wasn’t really given a choice but to believe that what I thought was wrong. That there are practicing witches. That they have beliefs and faiths that are as valid to them as mine are to me. Talk about a worldview changer. If a seemingly rational person tells you that they are a witch, what are your choices? You can decide they’re not rational or what else? I mean, it sort of factors out Jamestown because that was several hundred years ago. It takes away the stupid Halloween costume witches. What’s left? Accept that THEY believe they are a witch sort of covers the remainder…and if they believe it, either you call them nuts and wander off or, believe it, too…Needless to say, I didn’t wander off and I don’t question their sanity.

So, the original question, even though Paganism isn’t a fit for me, some of it is appealing. The ones I’m close to believe that life is interconnected. That life must have “balance”. That living in harmony with your world is a requirement. Those things appeal very strongly to me…

…and here’s what I started thinking about when I started to write…

Underdogs. I am protective of those people I care about. If I had a Spirit Animal, it would be a half Pit half Border mutt. In other words, a protective and lazy working dog. It may be nature, meaning as a male I instinctively want to protect. It may be nurture, the maddest I have seen my father was when he thought that Mom needed protecting.

My friends, read the people I love, should be protected…at least, they should have someone that says “hey y’all, why do you feel threatened by someone who’s only desire from you is to be left alone?” Since they “protect” me by letting me know that someone actually cares, without expectation of any return, for me, it seems fair that I do what little I may…

*sigh* I sort of lost the train of thought. I suppose it boils down to this. I care about the people I care about. I want the best for them. I do what I may to speak up for them. I didn’t set out to have them as people I care about but, now that I do, I’d rather you call ME out for being a Heretic and judge ME for my views than them for theirs. At least, I willingly decided to pick a path that sets me as a target. All they picked was me…and I am not physically imposing but, I’m too much of a curmudgeon to let some stranger through my thick skin…

Y’all have a nice day. Hug your loved ones. Protect your loves.

 

I Want to Title This “I Am Lucky” But, I Don’t Remember If I Have…

I haven’t written in a very long time. I don’t know if the words will find me…

Since my last post, it seems the World has changed. We are more divided than ever. *editorial, I am not and will not make this “political” because I think the state of “politics” is a symptom and not the disease*

If anyone is to “blame” it is ourselves. Maybe I missed it? Whatever happened to “live and let live”? What happened to being responsible for our own actions? Why is it someone else’s “fault” if something happens to me?

Why is it that it is easier to see someone as “different” and then claim persecution by them. Yes, persecution does happen. I am not denying that. Yes, prejudice and misogyny exist. People are stupid. I really get that. People are xenophobic and clannish. People are a$$holes just because…

People can also be kind and caring. People can empathize. People can reach out to strangers. We may, if we’re lucky, meet people that give us a chance to learn and grow.

I am lucky. I married my best friend. It was our first marriage. It happened in our mid-40’s. It is still, some years later, an “adventure”. I have said a few (thousand) times, “Smartest damn thing I ever did was marry her”. She makes me grow. She, not realizing it, forces me to look outside myself. I do things for her that I will not do for any other human…and sometimes I fall flat on my face, too…

Yesterday, I was also lucky. If you happen to read back through the blog from years past, you’ll find Aj all through them. I used, in a conversation a few minutes ago, the phrase, “I am romantically attached to ONE human and love a vanishingly few others”. As it turned out, yesterday, I was able to talk to, and watch them talk, a pair of them. It was the first time they interacted. There are not really words for how nice that was. The “funny”, read odd, thing is that I don’t really have any common demographic with them…race but, that doesn’t count…The list of “we don’t share” includes, gender, faith, geographical location, parental status, probably “that ‘p-word'”, a desire to go outdoors…pick a bunch more… and I love them dearly… What they have in common with my wife is that they force me, unknowingly, to look outside myself…and for that, they have my eternal gratitude…

Hobbes said, “No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” 

Yet, if we are lucky and I am, there are reasons not to be those.

We can make our own society that doesn’t include fear…well, aside from our own nightmares and insecurities but, you get my point. We can live knowing that the odds of “violent death” are small. We can be not “solitary”. The paragraphs up there prove that to me…As for the next two, “nasty” and “brutish”, those choices belong to YOU. “Short”? Who knows when this path ends? We are all going to be surprised when it does…

Life is an odd place. I am lucky that I finally grew up. I am grateful for every breath I am allowed. I am also grateful that I am allowed to have some people to love and that, I truly hope, love me back.

Ya know what? You decide what you want to do. Love me or hate me. See my demographic and blame me. See my loves as different. Those are YOUR choices. Live a cold, bleak, and distant life. See life as competition and struggle. I am not willing to spend my emotional energy on that. For me and mine, I’ll care for those in MY world and not be concerned with how you live in yours. Seems fair to me…

 

Other…

I was talking to a friend. She called herself “other”, meaning “different”…

It occurs to me that we are all other. I mean, even the people we think are “same” aren’t. How could we be? As far as I know, there are no cloned humans with exactly the same experiences. We might share a gender, political views, religious views, and sexual orientation but, even then, we came to those spots inside our own skins…

So, why did this idea of Other stick in my head?

It is because of this…We need to protect other. We need to appreciate the Otherness of those that are other. Gaaaaack, this seems so obvious to me. We will never be able to fully understand any human. Hell, we don’t even understand ourselves. Anyway, *sigh* to not protect Other, we fail to protect ourselves.

There’s nothing wrong with not being the same.

Current society thinks Other equals Dangerous. If your political views differ, that person must be a threat… I suppose I could go down the list but, y’all get the point…Jumpin’ Jimmeny Christmas and The Easter Bunny, being different doesn’t present an existential threat.

The next part of this thought is, how do we develop and mature our own views if we are so hidebound that we refuse to listen to difference? If am so unwilling to listen to dissent and become so defensive of my own views that I refuse to admit the possibility that I could be in error, odds are that MY views are less valid than I think. Perhaps it’s just me but, I do make mistakes and continually look for holes in what I think and my personal philosophies…and adapt when some Other shows me error or invalidity…

*****

Other is also a trap when you apply it to yourself…

“I am Other and they’re all the Same so, they couldn’t possibly understand me…” That’s what a kid says to their parents and a 20-something says to someone in their 50’s…Not realizing the oldsters survived what they are living. I know I used the section up there to point out how we’re all different but, which in this case doesn’t mean “please disregard”, in quite a few ways we are the same. We all started out pooping our pants. We all want whatever form of “success” we deem. We all want to love and be loved. We will all face the same end…

…and not to drop into “politics” because I have avoided making any indication of any “political” view I might have…

…Our parents survived the Cold War. *I was born in 1963*. Their childhood was filled with above ground Atom Bomb testing. Their parents were the generation of WWII. The parents of kids today, are children of the Viet Nam Era. The World has been filled with “threats” to us since before the Dawn of History…

We, humanity, will survive and adapt. It is our nature to do that…

*****

Other, hunh? Celebrate it.

Other, hunh? Protect it.

Other, hunh? Ignore it.

Other, hunh? Learn from it.

Other, hunh? Yeah, and Same…

Yeah, I Took Shots at EVERYONE…

Bits of thoughts…

I am NOT open-minded. In my world, people, as differentiated from “humanity” fall into 3 groups, people I like, people I dislike, and people that will be one or the other of the first two. Humanity is different, because of the people I like, I write about humans being treated with decency and compassion. I write FOR the people I like and love, to humans, about humanity and faith…

To the young lady parked next to me. Yeah, I saw the dyed pink hair and haircut shorter than mine. Yeah, I saw the rainbow flag on your rear deck. Yep, I looked to see what you looked like because I was curious. I “people watch”. Perhaps I’m reading more into the look you gave me in return but, you have no clue that I write a blog defending your right to live your life as you please so, perhaps instead of seeing a middle-aged guy driving a black Town Car, you might consider that not everyone that looks like me sees someone that looks like you as anything other than a fellow traveler on this rock, not the enemy…

I’m not sure that people really understand the word “conservative” *grins* I see a bunch of alleged “conservatives” wanting to get up in arms over the “bathroom issue”. They seem to think that “traditional conservative values” means that the Constitution was unclear when it used the word “citizens” and not “straight, white, male, Republican, Christian” in it. The Constitution uses that word several times for example here, “The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.” So if y’all all’s grasp of grammar is so poor as to misunderstand that one word, it comes as no surprise that bigger concepts like “equality” and “liberty” are beyond your grasp. Perhaps you should stick to simpler things like “fear” and “hate” as in this example, “Would y’all  misogynistic, homophobic, racist, semi-literate, cretins with delusions of grandeur please shut up?” *editorial, I am NOT a self-labeled Liberal. For most of my life, I have thought of myself as “conservative”. Now, that ideology has been hijacked by hate and fear so, I am of no political party and just look at the issues*…

While I’m at it… The nice thing about being me is that I have very few illusions about myself. I know my weaknesses and strengths. I know the bits of myself to be scared of and the places I trust. *there is a point to this* Guys that abuse women have no such confidence in themselves. All they have is weakness and the only way they are able to feel power is by making someone else less, sort of like those people in the last paragraph. The difference is that the people up there lash out at a group and the guys that abuse lash out at individuals. Either way, it is sadly pathetic when the only way you are able to feel any strength is to make someone else powerless…

And another thing…My Christianity doesn’t give me a lock on morality. When I first started using drugs, I owned and read a Bible and called myself Christian. If all it took was to claim a faith as the key, there would be no pedophile priests, spousal abusers in churches, or scammer t.v. evangelists. Just because you’re claiming “God Hates Fags” doesn’t make it so. If you actually read the words Jesus said, “love your neighbor as you love yourself” and claim that “God hates…” I suspect what you really mean is “I hate myself so, I’ll lash out at you…” Morality is a condition of your soul. It is entirely possible to be a transgender, Pagan, Lesbian and be moral. Just as it is possible to be a cishet, male, Christian and be a pedophile. It is the SOUL that matters, not the trappings around it…

Look, guys, we have to be realistic. We are not going to agree with everyone. We are not going to like everyone. There’s no way we’ll ever understand everyone but, we have to live together on this rock…at least to the day of our demise…so, it’s far easier on ourselves, and the rest of the world, if we spend less time hating and fearing what we don’t understand. There are a bunch of things to fear. I fear that a moment of weakness could bring relapse. I fear finding a scorpion in my shoe…I don’t have time to fear others because their lives are not inside my house or my head.

Predatory people happen. They are criminals. If I spend my life worrying that it will be disrupted by a criminal, I spend very little time LIVING my own and they win. If I spend my time making myself feel stronger by surrounding myself with cowards, how strong am I really? I’d rather be built up by the strength and courage of the people I know than to have sunk to the level of the fear mongers.

That’s it, in the end, do we have the strength to realize that “different” is not the same as “evil” or “loathsome”? Or do we stay with the comfort of our own xenophobic beliefs and forget Genesis 3:19?

By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”

The Great Equalizer comes for all of us one day…